Have Book, Will Travel
Yep, just like Paladin on TV.
Well, sort of…
For most writers, there will come a time in their career when they will need to travel. Sometimes it’s to a convention. Others it may be to do a business meeting. And there may come a time when you’ll need to actually do an appearance tour.
Yeah, yeah…you can do a lot of that electronically. Sure you can. If you’re willing to give up a huge part of the impact and effect. Then again, if you’re making $10,000 a year and figure a tour to NYC will result in a 25% increase in sales, and the trip will cost you $5,000 to make, just stay home. Again, maybe.
People love to meet “celebrities”, and like it or not, we authors are celebrities in the eyes of our readers. I used to go to Comicon, Dragoncon, and a slew of other you-name-it-cons as a number of my pen names. It was fun and you get to see and meet a lot of fun people. You also get to see and meet a good number of absolute nut cases. But the simple fact is you will see a dramatic spike in sales after such an appearance.
The same goes for less, um…esoteric conventions. An appearance at the RT convention will boost sales. Ditto for other similar gatherings. Even a single signing at a single bookstore will usually pay for itself.
And don’t forget the college lecture circuits…you can easily get $25,000 plus expenses for a two-hour lecture to a group of grad students who can’t string more than seven words together into a coherent sentence.
What this means is you need to get out there and pound the pavement and press the flesh. Oh dear God…I’m channeling Zig Ziglar!
If you’re thinking of making some appearances that are more or less local to your area, that’s something you can probably set up on your own without too great an effort. For more ambitious outings, you’ll likely need some sort of help. A good personal assistant can usually do it, but as I’ve said, good a good PA isn’t cheap.
Also, if you are traditionally published, talk to your publisher about kicking in a few dollars to help with expenses. If you’re doing an appearance at a bookstore, the publisher and store will often pick up the tab for signage and such, and they will make sure the store has a good supply of books on hand. And yes, there will come a time when the publishers and stores will pick up the entire tab for you.
Besides, if you ask, the worst thing they could say is “no”.
And never forget that writing is a lot like sex…
At first you do it because it’s fun and it feels good.
Then you do it for people you really like.
But if you’re any good at all, you end up doing it for money.